Dries starts by saying he travels alot. He sees that Drupal is starting to become a standard across the world for developing sites for large organisations.
A prime example is happening in New York, with the large media companies. 5 or 6 years ago they would use all sorts of different systems. They would use some systems for their large sites, different ones for the medium size websites, and others still for their small websites. Today though they are starting to standardise on Drupal for many of their medium size websites, as well as most of their small websites.
Financial companies are also switching to Drupal - including the New York Stock Exchange. Drupal is also doing well in government, and also in high tech. Symantec has over 240,000 registered users on their Drupal powered support site, with users helping each other and answering the majority of support questions without Symantec staff invovlement.
So Drupal is being increasingly adopted.
Dries says that a lot of people are concerned though about the adoption of Drupal 7. But it took Drupal 6 twelve months to be installed on 100,000 live sites - and only took Drupal 7 six months.
The community involvement has increased. The number of commits per month and the number of committers have both grown rapidly.
Dries then talks about some of the major modules on Drupal 7 - Workbench, Media Module and Commerce module, and highlights their power.
He says we have a lot to be proud of.
But he says that something in our DNA mans we’re never happy and are always critical of ourselves - which can be a good thing. He’s organised a ‘State of Drupal’ survey, and he’s going to go through some of the results.
3,000 people replied, compared to just over 1,000 last time. He believes this means the results are relevant. Most people who took the survey labelled themselves as being ‘proficient’ in Drupal, with 2-3 years of experience. Most people came from Western Europe, followed by North America, but many other countries were represented.
Dries thinks that Drupal is growing faster in Europe than anywhere else right now.
One of the questions was to describe drupal in one word (it was freeform entry) - the top words were Flexible, Awesome, Powerful, Complex, Community.
Another questions was ‘What is Drupal’s biggest opportunity?’ and the top answers were: Replacing legacy platforms, Mobile, IT cost reduction. Dries is surprised that these are very businessy things to float to the top. Ten years ago organisations had one website, if they had one at all. These days they have many sites - the main site, microsites, intranets, extranets etc. These previously gre organically, with different people commissioning different sites from different suppliers who used different platforms. Now there seems to be a move to standardisation.
Drupal is uniquely positioned to become this standard. It scales from large to small websites, and it has the flexibility (because of the wide range of contributed modules) to power many different types of site.
Who do we compete with? The majority said Wordpress, with other open source systems close behind. Dries thinks we need to be careful about viewing our compettion as Wordpress. Our aim is not for owners of Wordpress sites to replace their site with Drupal. We need to think bigger. We need to investigate the hundreds of other systems where the real opportunity might be - the existing big systems ued by large organisations.
What are Drupal’s biggest challenges? Usability and ease of use, configuration management, determining which modules to use.
This shows the tensions between what’s great about Drupal, and its challenges. For example, one reason people gave for why Drupal is great is the number of modules available - but then one of the biggest challenges with Drupal was ‘determining which modules to use’.
The survey shows a significant increase in the number of people earning their living in Drupal. We’re maturing to be more professional as a result.
As professionals we need to embrace the tension between usability and functionality. He highlights how Apple have made the iPhone the most powerful phone, but also the easiest to use.
How do we increase Drupal adoption? 60% said we need to build a better product, others said more training and more marketing. Dries says we can’t just focus on building a better product. Drupal 8 could be two years away, and we can’t wait until then to increase adoption.
We spent 3 years of our lives on Drupal 7, and as soon as it was released we said ‘here it is’, and moved straight on to Drupal 8 without marketing it properly. We haven’t explained all the new features in Drupal 7 well enough. We need to put effort into promoting its adoption.
In summary we need the best technical platform, it needs to be easy to use, and it needs to be well marketed. Apple do all of these things well, not just one or two. That’s why nearly everyone at the conference has an Apple device.
Dries recaps his presentation from Chicago in which he announced the changes in the way Drupal 8 would be developed with some key initiatives. The initiatves for D8 are: Web Services, HTML5, Design, Configuration Management, Internationalisation. The concept of ‘gates’ was also brought in: Performance, Accesibility, Usability, Documentation and Testing. Each patch needs to pass through these gates before being committed.
He also gives the update that new features and major refactoring patches will only be committed to Drupal 8 if: Critical bugs/tasks across D7 and D8 are <= 15 and Major bugs/tasks across D7 and D8 <= 100. The idea of this is to make sure that quality stays high across both versions.
Dries then sets out what he calls the prioritised Drupal 8 initiative scorecards. He takes the key wishlists from the survey and matches them against what’s happening with D8.
- Native HTML5/CSS3 - on track
- Media/asset handling - not started. No official initiative. This week Dries wants to identify the goals, and find an initiative owner.
- Usability/ease of use - Partly covered by one of the ‘gates’, but we can do more.
- Mobile support - partly covered by HTML5, Web Services and Design initiatives. Dries thinks there is more that we can do. We should consider adopting responsive design, handling image resizing.
- WYSIWYG - not started, but users want it. Sun and quicksketch have ideas that Dries thinks we should explore.
- Better APIs - partially covered by Web Services
- Configuration management - On track, but needs more people to get involved.
- Content import/export - more needs to be done
- Content staging - partially covered by the configuration management initiative
In summary, we have a huge opportunity ahead of us. We’re uniquely positioned to change our industry. We need to truly understand the competition.
To win we need to make Drupal really really strong, and he says “Let’s make Drupal 8 an amazing release”.